Dreamweaver 4 Overview

Introduction to Dreamweaver 4

1 Dreamweaver 4 Overview
2The Interface: Same, but Different
3Handling Code
4How Buggy Are Your Scripts?
5Inserting Flash Objects in a Flash
6Handling Images
7 Site Management: All Together Now
8Hits and Misses
HomeTired and Want to go HOME

Dreamweaver 4 Overview

Page 7 Site Management: All Together Now

For quite some time, Dreamweaver has been embraced by those working in a small or medium-sized Web development environment, but shunned by enterprise and large-scale development teams in favor of applications that are designed specifically to handle very large sites with equally large development and support teams. With version 4 of Dreamweaver, it seems as though the issues involving large-scale development have been significantly smoothed out, making the application an appealing choice for a Web project of any size.

We've already taken a look at the fully customizable Assets panel, and this feature proves to be an easy and efficient way to keep all of your team's images, page templates, JavaScript behaviors, custom colors, and common URLs in one place. This ensures that all team members are using the same elements on your site and that the look will be uniform across all pages -- no matter how many you have.

A content version check-out system has been added, as well. Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe software has been integrated with Dreamweaver as its chosen version control tool. Visual SourceSafe allows different members of a development team to check out files from the server's database of available files, manipulate them at their workstation, then check them back in when they're done. This system keeps multiple users from changing the same file at the same time, thus creating conflicting versions of the same file.

To appeal to teams that rely on a content management or publishing automation system, Macromedia has added WebDAV capability. The WebDAV protocol is used as a interface between development applications such as Dreamweaver and many of the industry-leading content management applications like Vignette and ATG, so basically any content management system that supports the WebDAV protocol can be used with Dreamweaver 4.

To enhance communication between members of a development team, Dreamweaver 4 allows full customization of the Site window's fields. You can add features to the Site window such as intra-department status reports or task-specific check lists. To launch the Dreamweaver Site window, press F5. You will see a map of your site's folder hierarchy. The basic Site view window shows six initial columns, but you can add extra columns that interface with the file's design notes. Design notes, first introduced in Dreamweaver 3, are small XML files that are attached to a host HTML file. They allow team members to comment on recent work they may have completed on the file, plus comments asking other team members to complete additional tasks such as graphics optimization or copy editing.

The design notes and file check-out system work in conjunction with your local e-mail system to allow team members to communicate their progress or collaborative needs to each other.

Now that we've seen all Dreamweaver 4 has to offer, let's take a moment to re-cap the ups and downs of this big baby.

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